(WTVM) - Free speech is perhaps the most important freedom we enjoy as Americans.
In light of the recent news out of several major universities, like Missouri, Yale and Ithaca College, it seems like free speech is now one of our most endangered freedoms.
One of the newest dangers to freedom of expression is a new concept - something called "micro-aggressions."
The September issue of Atlantic magazine writes about micro-aggressions as small, sometimes unintentional words or actions, such as asking someone where they are from, if they don't appear to look "American."
On a college campus these days, micro-aggressions may be classified as racist or sexist.
Racism, sexism and hate speech is never okay.
But college students who are too easily offended by small slights may be stunting their own educational growth by magnifying acts of stupidity into something much worse. They are learning to embrace the idea that they are victims.
The lessons we should all learn from the recent campus protests is that protests are healthy and necessary, but not if they are taken to extremes.
Beyond the college experience, students will face many diverse personalities in the real world.
Learning to counter most offensive statements in a rational rather than emotional way will help them succeed in the workplace and in life.
Micro-aggressions is just a fancy term for tiny actions and misperceptions that can be resolved if we can calmly talk to each other and ratchet down the rhetoric.